Welcome to New Team Members
The Quality welcome Jenny Holt and Belinda Cross to the team. Jenny will be the Quality Officer in ABS, whilst Belinda has taken over as quality Officer for Programme Approval and Modification. Please join us in welcoming them to the team.
Programme Data Dashboard
The project to provide programme data on a Tableau dashboard for Annual Monitoring and Periodic Review is progressing well and is expected to be ready for the next round of programme-level reviews in autumn 2018.
Exam Board Briefings
Exam Board Briefings took place on 10th and 22nd May”, attended by over 70 Exam Board Chairs, Secretaries, and associated staff. The presentation from the Briefing is now available on the Regulation Sub-Committee webpage.
Feedback on these sessions has been positive with staff commenting on how useful they find it, particularly for staff who are new to Examination Boards.
The Quality Team have put together a Quality Handbook to act as a guide to Quality Assurance and Enhancement processes at Aston. This will be a primary source of information and will be continually developed. You can find the handbook here.
If you have any comments of feedback, please contact Steve Jonesin the Quality Team.
Articulation Approval Process
In response to demand, CPSG has produced a separate set of process documentation for the approval of articulation and progression arrangements, including a flowchart, which will be up on the web at http://www.aston.ac.uk/clipp/quality/a-z/collaborativeprovision/ soon.
Articulation is a process whereby all students who satisfy the academic criteria on a partner’s programme are automatically entitled (on academic grounds) to be admitted with advanced standing to a subsequent stage of a programme of the University. Progression agreements allow for all students who satisfy the academic criteria on a partner’s programme to be admitted to the initial stage of a programme at Aston.
Transnational Education Review
CPSG is sending a request out to all Schools to seek information regarding Aston’s preparedness for the new QAA Transnational Education Review process. This covers all learning delivered to students overseas which leads to UK awards at levels 4 – 8, and is not in all cases collaborative. This can include online and distance learning as well as integrated foundation years, shared delivery of Aston awards, off campus delivery of Aston awards by flying faculty and partnerships leading to dual, double or joint awards. It does not include exchanges, placement years abroad or articulation arrangements.
Schools will be asked to report back, via their Learning and Teaching Committees, to say who in the School is responsible for keeping evidence such as minutes of liaison committees and exam boards, publicity materials and operational manuals. It is also important that Schools check that they are fully evidencing any issues pertaining to TNE where it exists alongside on campus provision, for example making sure that online provision is referenced at annual review.
TNE Review will focus on a different area of the world each academic year. For 2017/18 this is Hong Kong and 2018/19, Malaysia.
Annual University Report on Academic Governance
HEFCE’s Operating Model for Quality Assurance requires the University Council to provide an annual assurance statement about:
- the continuous improvement of the student academic experience and of student outcomes
- the reliability of degree standards.
The Report to evidence these statements was approved by Council in December 2017, and summarises all aspects of University quality assurance and enhancement processes, giving details of strengths and weaknesses and how we are dealing with them. The Report was scrutinised in detail by a sub-group of the Senate on 22nd November 2017. The sub-group, which included representation from the Executive, academics, professional staff and students, was pleased to recommend that the Council sign off the annual assurance. They based their decision on the comprehensive nature of the report and the work that had been undertaken behind it. They were pleased to see significant external evidence to back up assertions, as well as data driven evidence of impact, and challenging action plans for the coming year to ensure further continuous improvement. They saw clear evidence of a focus which puts students clearly at the centre of all that is being done.
You can find the full report on the Learning and Teaching Committee Page.
Responsibility for the coordination of External Examining is moving to CLIPP's Quality Team over the next few months. Alison Birch is working closely with Steve Jones to ensure a smooth transition.
As part of the handover, we will be looking at the related processes to ensure that they remain fit for purpose and continue to reflect best practice in the sector.
Currently, the External Examiner Fee Structure is out for consultation with Schools. If you wish to comment, please let your School Quality Officer know in the first instance or contact Steve Jones in the Central Quality Team
As part of the review, we would welcome input from colleagues about their experience of external examining. If you have experience of external examining at any other institutions, either as an External Examiner or as a member of staff involved in the related processes and systems, please contact Steve Jones, who will be happy to meet and discuss your experiences in order to better inform our approach.
As an outcome of LTC’s review of the policy in 2016-17, changes to the review policy were made for 2017-8 which include a reduction in the supporting dataset; for portfolio planning and development to be a topic for the senior staff meeting, and for the integration of digital technology into curriculum design to be a contributing factor when considering programme design. You can find the updated policy on the periodic review webpage.
We have added an exemplar Self-Evaluation Document for staff to use as a resource when completing their own, in preparation for Periodic Review.
We are also currently in the process of allocating volunteers to panels and will be in touch with volunteers shortly.
Deadlines for Programme Changes
Changes to material information that have already been planned for 2018 entry, and which are included in the School lists in Appendix B below, must be approved and communicated to offer holders by 31 January 2018. Changes to the material information for 2019 entry are expected to be in place by 30 September 2018.
Consumer Law Compliance Arrangements for 2017/18
In response to the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) review of Higher Education providers’ compliance with consumer law, the University set up a CMA Steering Group (currently Sarah Davies, Frank Eperjesi, Sapreena Kumari, Alison Levey, Ben McAree and Victoria Mee), with responsibility for how compliance processes are carried out, and the communication with stakeholders. The Group reviewed how processes worked during 2016/17, and in May and June 2017, made recommendations to the University Learning and Teaching Committee (LTC), which were subsequently approved. You can find more information on the Programme Approval webpage.